Zahra Pourmohseni

Teach Enrich Empower

A Student or a Teacher?

Hi, I’m Zahra and this is my first year teaching English at school. I’m 22 and I finished my TEFL course in May 2021, two months before graduating from university.

After getting my BA from a governmental teaching training center in  Iran, I was assigned to teach in 3 different high schools in Qazvin. I started  teaching in September while Covid was still around and I haven’t yet been fully  vaccinated.  

At first I had to teach on Shad which is an Iranian application for holding classes  online. The platform is pretty much similar to WhatsApp so I had no difficulty  doing my job. However, I need to mention that the internet connection is annoyingly  poor and on top of that some useful apps like YouTube and many teaching  websites are banned in Iran!

Unfortunately, these rigorous rules tie our hands and  hold us, teachers, back from improving our professional life in Iran. Due to the  same problem, students were unable to follow classes through live meetings or  even video files so I had to manage teaching with offline material like voice  messages and worksheets. This clearly isn’t what I expected or wanted my first  year to be like.  

Accordingly, when face-to-face classes started late in October, I found students  confused, more than they usually are, at the beginning of this school year! They  seemed to find it really hard to go back to a school routine after a year of virtual  classes.

I guess we can all agree that adapting to work during a pandemic took us all  some time. 

I love all of my students and I try my best to provide a safe zone for  them in my class.

It goes without saying that dealing with students who are only 4 years younger  than me within the frame of the Islamic republic of Iran can get a little tricky  sometimes but I love all of my students and I try my best to provide a safe zone for  them in my class.

School staff and parents are very polite and helpful. It is funny,  though, how they fail to recognize me all the time. I have what they call a baby face  and we have to wear masks all the time so they think that I’m one of the students  and treat me like them until I introduce myself. This can get very awkward  sometimes. Recently the dean shouted at me for standing during the exam and  asked me to sit down and take my test while I was actually supervising the process!

About the level of education and general knowledge, students surprise me every  day as they know very little about the real world outside their country. In Iran,  even senior year students are unable to have a simple conversation in English yet they are  friendly and grateful which prevents me from getting any kind of workplace  anxiety.

In the evenings I give private sessions or I teach in  English institutes. However I’m happy for now. I would love to try other countries  for next year and I hope for more challenging teaching opportunities.

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